The apparent track record of a running race promoter is complicating plans for a 5K at the Cove.
“You get a license to use something, but that license can be revoked,” said Assistant South Bend City Attorney Cheryl Greene.
Last month, the South Bend Board of Public Works approved a permit for the Night Moves Glow in the Park even to be held at Four Winds Field on May 3rd.
Today, board members talked about revoking that permit.
“We’ve received some information that the promoter of this event has had some troubled events in the past, some successful, some troubled,” said Gary Gilot, Board of Works President. “Well, past events were cancelled at the last minute and people didn’t get their money back or they were told to go to another event in another city.”
The only thing the board decided today was to make a final decision on the permit in two weeks. The item was tabled to give the promoter a chance to respond to the city’s concerns.
“We pay all our bills, we’re happy to, and we just want to be treated fairly like everybody else,” said professional race promoter Dean Reinke from his home in Florida. “We’re looking at like last June, it was really almost a one year process and we’re sort of in the eighth inning of a nine inning game so while it’s unusual to bring these things up in the eighth inning, when the game is already being played, but we’re happy to discuss anything.”
While Reinke wants to stage a night race in South Bend --adorning runners with items that glow in the dark, there are some less than glowing reviews about the events he has managed in the past.
In fact, the Reinke Sports Group couldn’t be doing worse—according to the Better Business Bureau.
“The rating for that organization was an “F” and it was based upon 23 complaints that had been submitted during a three year period of time only three of which were resolved,” said Cheryl Greene.
“In 40 years of doing business we’ve had a handful of Better Business type of things but again, I’ll stand behind, we had two events cancelled to hurricanes,” replied Reinke. “It’s sort of like a fly on an elephant, with 25,000 runners and a runner half-marathon over the last six years, and over 40 years we've had thousands of thousands of runners.”
While Reinke has promoted races all across the nation and has created his share of enemies, perhaps the double-take in South Bend hurts twice as much, since this is Reinke’s home town.
“I’m a South Bend boy, I bleed green, even though I live in Florida, I’m still a Midwest guy at heart,” Reinke said. “My family was fortunate, Reinke Construction built an awful lot of buildings at Notre Dame.”
Reinke Construction even built Coveleski Stadium some 25 years ago. “I was there opening night,” said Reinke. “It brought chills to me, to be back there at the Cove with all the wonderful improvements.”
Dean Reinke insists that he continues to line up new sponsors and that his event is moving forward. The President of the South Bend Board of Public Works suggests that Reinke put his money where his mouth is.
“If there’s some measures that this promoter can do voluntarily to make sure we don’t have another bad experience here, maybe it goes forward,” said Gary Gilot.
Gilot suggested that Reinke should post a bond as insurance in case something goes wrong.
It’s not clear if the board can legally force Reinke to post a bond, but some members seem determined to persuade him to do that.
Reinke is a graduate from Jackson High School and set up a wellness program for St. Joseph’s Medical Center while organizing the SportsMed 10K in the 1980’s.